According to the PHD Chamber report, India`s imports from ASEAN countries increased sharply relative to its exports to these countries after the signing of these agreements. India`s decision not to join the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) has provoked an avalanche of contributions, editorials and interviews. Most discussed the impact of the decision on four themes: exports, investment, integration into the global value chain (GVC) and domestic industry. Let us use another source of knowledge – the experience of countries with free trade agreements (FTA). Trade relations between the two communities date back to 1,000 BC. J.-C. and date back to the time of the industal civilization of the Indian subcontinent and the Babylonian culture of the Middle East. A Buddhist story describes Indian merchants who visit Baveru (Babylonia)  and sell peacocks to the public. Similar, earlier reports describe monkeys that have been exposed to the public.
 Trade relations between India and Palestine and the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean basin continued and the languages of these cultures began to share linguistic similarities.  The paper makes another interesting observation: India`s net exports to countries without trade agreements were slightly lower than its net exports to countries with free trade agreements. In contrast, imports from countries with trade agreements have been much larger, leading India into a trade deficit. Despite this ideology, Modi has tried to satisfy different interest groups and has made considerable progress in reforming the tax system and easing restrictions on foreign investment. But significant trade liberalization would still be too difficult. India`s withdrawal in extremis from negotiations on the regional economic cooperation agreement in 2019 indicated that domestic voters would triumph over free trade. But even high import tariffs, which are reduced to zero by free trade agreements, do not guarantee exports. Japan reduced tariffs on Indian clothing from 10% to zero in 2011, thanks to a free trade agreement. But India`s apparel exports to Japan rose from $255 million in 2010 to $152 million in 2018. This is due to Japanese non-tariff barriers (NTBs) such as specific sourcing requirements. However, NTBs are generally not negotiated in free trade agreements. Countries must resolve them bilaterally.
In summary, free trade agreements reduce import duties, but this is only one of many factors that determine whether exports will increase. Neither country has managed to negotiate free trade agreements compared to other countries around the world – the EU has just concluded one with Vietnam. Everyone has a strong but chaotic democracy with many voices against free trade agreements.